Rum Review : Rasta Morris Bielle 2009 10y

Yes, the last Rasta Morris for this time being. I hope you had as much fun with these as I did (if you’re not drinking one, you’re probably not). Today I’m reviewing his latest release: Bielle 10y, aged from 2009-2019 and bottled at 49.4%, with a release of 226 bottles

As you might notice the rum was bottled 2 years ago. The rum has thus been “aging” in the bottle for these years. Not that this does anything for the rum, but I’m just filling in the gaps.

Bielle is one of Bert Bruyneel’s favourite rum distilleries, which can be seen in his portfolio. Bert has been relying heavily on Bielle for 2 of the 3 years he’s been in rum. With my previous encounter with Bielle, I can understand this sentiment as it’s a truly qualitative rum. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the style, qualitative rum should always be acknowledged as it is: gorgeous and good for the industry.

As always with Bielle, this rum was made with sugar cane juice as its base, this being openly fermented and then distilled in the Savalle Column setup. Ageing was mostly tropical as it was tropically aged from April 2009 to July 2019, after which it was shipped to Europe for bottling in November 2019, done at a very manageable 49.4% (consider the Venezuela and Trinidad).  The bottles were then kept in the warehouse for over a year before finally releasing in May of 2021.

Let’s dive in!

Colour:

Orange with a golden hue

Nose:

On the nose this is very classical aged Bielle; the freshness and vegetal qualities of the Sugar cane juice, darkened and given extra complexity by the cask. I’m getting a healthy dose of vanilla and a greenery which alternates nicely and provides an ever-interesting smelling experience.

Some dark chocolate and tropical fruits are also to be found after jamming my nose in the glass.

Taste:

The palate lives up to the nose as the exact same grassiness and woody complexity return. Some green spices add a bit of power to this otherwise very manageable rum at 49.4% ABV.

Glue, vanilla, slight woody tannin and a bit of 3-day old bananas are some of the flavours I’m getting here. Very solid and complex rum.

Finish:

The finish sticks around for a considerable amount of time. Mainly the greener, vegetal and glue flavours last the longest. The darker notes fade away rather quickly, this gives the rum a very refreshing ending.

Aged Sugarcane juice-based rum is a real hit or miss for me. The Vieux Sajous was not what I was looking for. On the other hand the first Bielle I reviewed was pretty darn good. As this is of the same distillery, it’s hard to imagine this rum being a disappointment. Which evidently it absolutely isn’t, Bert knows his stuff and this again is a very good cask. A very solid and broad-flavoured Bielle.

8.5/10

Review #25: Rhum Bielle 2012 Brut de Fût

Today we’re visiting Marie-Galante, a little island just south of its parent-island of Guadeloupe. On this Island there are 3 distilleries: Habitation Bellevue, Poisson (Père Labat) and Bielle.

Bielle is todays subject. The distillery was founded at the end of the 19th century and produces its rum in the old fashioned Agricole way. This means with pure cane juice and creole column stills. This production method is widely used in almost all French speaking rum producing islands and mostly gives a fresh, herbal and grassy taste, a rather specific palate as a general category, with a lot of variety from distillery to distillery in the category. This again shows the insane flexibility rum has.

The Bielle distillery and the other distilleries on the island were replacements for the small “sucrottes”. These were tiny sugar cane plantations that have become unviable due to a globalizing sugar production (cane and beets). Instead of stopping production, these sucrottes became Agricole distilleries which use the fesh cane juice to make an outstanding product.

Today’s Bielle is the Brut de Fût 2012. Brut de Fût meaning cask strength… and 2012 meaning it was distilled in 2012… Thank you captain obvious.

The rum was distilled in 2012 using Savalle (créole) column stills after being fermented in open air for 48h. It was bottled in January of 2020, this will put the rum somewhere between an old 7 years old to 8 years. These years of aging resulted in a final ABV of 53.7%

Colour:

Deep orange-brown, dark copper hue

Nose:

The initial nose is quite closed. Revealing only hints of vanilla beans with some grass attached. However, it doesn’t take long for it to start coming open. A hefty vegetal nose starts coming through surrounded by oaky influences; a bit of spice and again some vanilla all support this dark sort of grassiness.

Taste:

Again, right on beginning of the first sip, this rum feels closed. And just like on the nose it doesn’t take too long to expose itself. The same vegetal note hists again, but more pronounced and fresh. I get this very particular taste of those classic brown plasters and I must say, I don’t hate it. This reminds me of the “chemical and medicinal” qualities some Jamaican rums are said to have. Though in Rhum Agricole the specific flavour here can be disruptive to me rather soon. The Bielle is well-balanced and the plaster remains within the bounds of the pleasant.

In this case it gives a fresher impression than for example Clairin or Providence. Though it is deeper and more rounded out thanks to the cask influence than some of the very minty unaged Agricoles.

Thanks to this cask influence I also get spices, a bit of caramel and vanilla on the palate as well alongside some leather and tobacco (this only in minor forms). Lovely and interesting dram

Finish:

The finish is medium-long, with spices being the main attraction and a musty-ish and dark  grassy/vanilla sideshow.

Pretty great rum. It clearly is an Agricole without it feeling like purely grass in a glass. It has depth and complexity and it does it better than the Vieux Clairin. The vegetal and woody notes complement each other far better and create a very nice and pure rum. A very very solid Vieux Agricole.

I’m a fan!

9/10